Lanark Lodge in Perth have been active in fundraising for many community causes over the years, including the Canadian Cancer Society’s (CCS) Relay For Life.
Four years ago, staff decided to bring the Relay to Lanark Lodge to involve residents, families, staff and the community at large. That way, according to Deborah Pidgeon, the lodge’s director of long-term care services, everyone could participate for part or all of the event.
“Cancer has impacted a number of our staff members, and in the home, by extension, it has touched everyone,” explains Pidgeon. “We are wanting to do our part to help as we first hand understand the devastation that this disease causes for families and extended support systems. We each have an ‘I’ story as to why we get involved.”
The lodge’s Walk the Block event, as it has been called, has been hugely successful with more than $10,000 being raised each year for the CCS. In 2016, thanks to greater community involvement, close to $15,000 was collected.
“It has been wonderful to involve residents, staff and families by hosting this great event in our backyard,” she stated. “Lanark County and Perth Community Care staff have participated, along with a number of community teams and individuals.”
While a full Walk the Block was considered again for this year, after some discussion, Pidgeon says it was decided that the luminary ceremony as a feature event might be the best option “to generate positive energy and support for the Cancer Society.”
“The luminary ceremony is incredibly poignant for people, magical really to take time to reflect on people battling this disease and taking time to remember those that we have lost,” she remarked.
As an example, when balloons were released as part of last year’s ceremony, Pidgeon cites how a young boy who released his balloon shared with his dad: “Daddy, my balloon is going to fight cancer”.
“These are the simple moments that have us reflect on how each of us working together can make a difference,” she related.
The special celebration of life ceremony will take place on Thursday, June 15 in the back parking lot of Lanark Lodge, located at 115 Christie Lake Road, Perth. The luminary lighting itself will commence at 9 p.m. with luminaries being available on site at 8 p.m. They can also be ordered online at relayforlife.ca/luminary.
“A luminary is more than a candle,” Jessica Roback, the Community Engagement Specialist for the Perth and Area Community Office of the CCS, stated. “It is the symbol of a life and tribute to a loved one affected by cancer.”
Funds raised not only go towards cancer research but also assist in funding local initiatives such as the peer support service, Cancer Connections and Wheels of Hope.
“Every dollar helps us – even $2 can make a difference,” Roback stressed. “By donating a couple dollars, that could help a researcher purchase a petri dish. That petri dish could be the dish that could make a new breakthrough in cancer research.”
Having Lanark Lodge on board as a community partner is “invaluable” to CCS Perth, the community engagement specialist notes.
“The commitment they have shown over the years is truly inspiring,” she said. “Without events and partnerships like this one, we would not be able to do our work in the community.”
There is no registration fee for the June 15 ceremony and all are welcome to attend. Further information on the event can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (phone 613-267-4225, ext. 7101) or email@example.com.